Media: Informal Panel Pulls
Together in Hopes of
Luring Dot-Com Firms
The San Diego Television Marketing Council is initiating a new effort to increase the amount of advertising that Internet-based companies buy in the local market.
It was sparked in an appropriately casual way. Sales managers from San Diego stations were seated around a table planning a luncheon in which the local industry celebrated 50 years of television in San Diego, said Chuck Dunning, general sales manager at XETV Channel 6.
One of them relayed a sales representative’s feeling that although high-tech companies were starting to advertise on television in a big way, San Diego wasn’t getting as significant a share as it could.
Although San Diego is the 25th market in Nielsen television household rankings, it’s considered one of the most wired cities in the country. Also, research indicates a high frequency with which local residents both use the ‘Net and buy computer equipment.
The managers agreed that they should further market San Diego as an Internet-ready audience.
Through word of mouth and E-mail, the sales managers decided to jointly develop a powerpoint presentation to do that.
The report will pull together the stations’ research and remind potential advertisers that advertising directly in San Diego is cheaper than doing it nationally.
The stations’ sales representatives will target company officials who decide where advertising dollars will be spent.
The project won’t cost much, Dunning said. The stations will use powerpoint programs they already have and will split up the sales time, he said.
The informal manner in which this particular effort took shape is characteristic of the way the local Television Marketing Council operates, Dunning explained. The ad hoc group has no formal meetings nor dues. They connect for projects, and working together brings credibility and more attention, he said.
The council is comprised of seven free, over-the-air television stations , Fox affiliate XETV, KUSI Channel 51, NBC affiliate KNSD Channel 7/39, CBS affiliate KMFB-TV Channel 8, KSWB Channel 5, ABC affiliate KGTV Channel 10, and the newest addition, Univision affiliate KBNT Channel 19, the sole Spanish-language station.
Still In Competition
Although the stations will later compete for the pool of marketing dollars spent in San Diego, the council is a way for them to jointly sell the benefits of advertising in San Diego to companies outside city limits.
The group has been more active of late. In February, it sponsored a television advertising award at the Ad Club of San Diego’s annual Creative Show awards. Last week, it helped organize a “Television Day,” again with the Ad Club.
Few if any cities have an organization such as a joint television marketing group, said KUSI’s Sexton.
According to Dunning of XETV, there is a national industry group, called the Television Bureau of Advertising. However, issues that set San Diego apart from other markets make a local group more effective, he said.
The marketing council first came together in 1982 when they funded and distributed a $16,000 video that explained San Diego’s market beyond that year’s Nielsen market ranking, Dunning said.
There were issues such as markets of viewers that the television household count didn’t include, such as tourists, military barracks, college dorms and viewers in Tijuana who purchase many U.S. products.
The video also told about San Diego’s unique geographic positioning, with Orange County to the north, Tijuana to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and mountains to the east.
Once a company decides to advertise in San Diego, the energy that went into the joint effort becomes what Dunning considers a healthy turn to make the individual station’s sale.
“It gets very competitive after that,” Dunning said. “We’re all very capable of positioning ourselves against our competition.”
According to Jay Rabin, local marketing manager for KBNT, his station’s recent entrance into the informal group makes sense.
“It became clear that the Hispanic market is big enough, and the Spanish-language television viewing audience certainly is big enough that we’re a part of the general market, and we should be considered just like any of the other over-the-air San Diego-licensed television stations,” Rabin said.